This wide-ranging study, by one of the UK's leading scholars of British politics, presents a fascinating picture of the role of the MP during the last 150 years. The author examines the various roles of Members of Parliament since the middle of last century. Backbench MPs have three majorroles-a partisan role, a constituency role, and a scrutiny role. They increasingly expect and are expected to support their parties; to help constituents with individual problems and look after their collective interests; and they are expected to keep a check on the government and its policies.These roles existed 150 years ago, but the balance between them has changed. The partisan role now dominates at Westminster, the constituency role has expanded beyond all recognition, and the scrutiny role is widely seen as the poor relation. Moreover, while constituency work has been virtuallyhived-off as a non-partisan role, the conflict between the partisan and the scrutiny role creates a dilemma at the heart of parliamentary government.